This week I recommend everyone takes a good dose of Heartbreaker (Wednesday 23rd May, 8.30pm); light, charming, and a little bit wacky, this French romantic comedy is perfect mid-week escapism.
Like most romantic comedies Heartbreaker requires you to suspend reality. In this case it’s as we follow Alex (Romain Duris), a charming professional heartbreaker who for a fee can convince any woman to leave her boyfriend, fiancé or husband. That is, until he meets Juliette, played by Vanessa Paradis.
Juliette turns out to be a tough assignment for Alex, who works with his sister and brother-in-law, and it gets even tougher when he begins to experience genuine feelings for her. The highs and lows, depending on your perspective, include a re-enactment of the classic Dirty Dancing dance routine which is actually so bad it’s adorable, and a soundtrack featuring George Michael. All in all though director Pascal Chaumeil manages to freshen up the rom-com genre just enough to make his debut feature film a charming treat.
For something a little more serious and thought provoking try Triage (Saturday 26th May, 8.30pm), a drama from director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land) about a couple of war photographers working in Kurdistan in the 80s. I used to romanticise photojournalism and regard it as a heroic occupation, but can a war correspondent be immune to their situation? It’s an idea Tanovic explores earnestly with a solid cast including Colin Farrell and Christopher Lee, in particularly fine form.
To finish on an upbeat note, this week’s documentary is Marwencol (Thursday 24th May, 8.30pm), a cleverly shot documentary about the fantasy world of American Mark Hogancamp. In 2000 Hogancamp was brutally beaten into a brain damaged coma by 5 men. After a year of being taught how to walk, talk and write again, Mark, with no memory of his former life, began to retreat into a parallel fantasy world he created in his back garden called Marwencol. Using G.I Joe and Barbie dolls he has built a fictional WWII era Belgium town where soldiers and frisky women play out a variety of storylines that enable Mark to psychologically and physically work through his issues.
It’s clear Mark is talented and his engaging personality drives this documentary, but when his work is discovered and admired for its artistic qualities he has to decide if he’s ready for his sanctuary and therapeutic world to be presented to the public as art.
Art as therapy, art as a means to self-healing, Marwencol offers an interesting perspective on how we deal with issues in our lives.